September 23, 2007

New Neighbors

It rained most of last night, but cleared up just before dawn. Perfect conditions for capturing evidence of the local wildlife in the fresh mud. With that in mind, I grabbed our new camera before leaving for our evening walk with the dogs on the off chance of spotting some interesting tracks from any critters wandering past our house early this morning. We weren't disappointed.

Amidst the various deer and javelina prints and worm trails criss-crossing the still damp mud we spotted these. Each one a good three inches across, they leave no doubt as to the identity of our new neighbor, a mountain lion. And we can be certain that it skulked past our house sometime around dawn this morning. What's more, there were two distinct sets, one significantly smaller than these. We're assuming its a female with at least one half-grown cub.

While I would absolutely love to see her, I'm not holding my breath. They don't call lions the "ghost of the wilderness" for nothing. I'm almost certain she's seen us walk by, however. It's enough to know she's living here with us, for at least a little while. For me, she's a reminder of everything that remains wild and free in this world. What little that is left, anyway.

However, her presence here does mean we'll have to be more careful/observant when taking the dogs for walks in the early morning and evening. And I'm going to try to convince Sonja to start carrying bear spray with her when she goes for a run. Not that I'm afraid that the lion will do anything except try to avoid our notice, of course. But a little healthy respect for a 300 pound predator is always a good thing.

"The essence of true wilderness
is big mammals that can eat you."

Edward Abbey


Patrick Belardo said...

Wow, awesome! Can we turn it into a jaguar?

P. Ollig said...

If I can turn a marmot into a wolverine (or an Arctic Tern into an Aleutian Tern) I don't see why not! Heh...can you imagine the numbers of people flooding to the area if we said we saw a jaguar here?